from the world's big
- A new study at the University of Southern Alabama investigates the pornography viewing habits of religious, heterosexual men.
- Those expressing high degrees of scrupulosity feel more guilt and shame when watching porn.
- The researchers found no correlation with viewing frequency and religiosity, however.
Porn Science: Female Sexual Response Is Contrary to Popular Belief, with Daniel Bergner<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4c3eae52a2e5bf67c296680e315daaf4"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/VCb_xbzjLG8?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>There's also disappointment. In 2017, I traveled to a pornography convention in Las Vegas to discuss the <a href="https://medium.com/@derekberes/the-future-of-virtual-sex-a8f1d3b66b9e" target="_blank">future of sex</a> through the lens of virtual reality. Brian Shuster, founder of HoloGirlsVR, warned about the dangers of believing screens translate to real life. Speaking about teenage boys grappling with newfound sexuality, he says, </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"The girls they find don't look like the girls they see in videos. First sexual experiences are a disappointment on both sides; probably the first thousand sexual experiences people have are with their computer. They say, 'I'm willing to have sex with real people, but I'm not willing to put in that level of work and commitment and potential disease and pregnancy for a relatively poor sexual experience.'"</p><p>This speaks to the problems. The team then wanted to know if religious men become addicted to violating moral codes—the old "I'm being naughty" mindset. They speculate religious men experience psychological distress from violating their faith's ethics when viewing outlawed material. Borgogna and crew recruited 224 volunteers to measure nine self-reported items, such as perceived compulsivity, problematic access efforts, and emotional distress. </p><p>The team focused on three principles: scrupulosity, an obsessive-compulsive disorder centered on guilt or obsession around religious perfectionism; traditional masculine ideology; and self-compassion, or maintaining an "emotionally positive self-attitude." Before reading responses, they hypothesized scrupulosity and masculine ideology would positively correlate to problematic pornography viewing (with the former providing a strong correlation) while volunteers with high self-compassion scores would not be ridden by guilt.</p>
The reverend Vernon Mitchell talks to women at a strip club as part of a process to determine which segments of the show should be censored, London, 1st November 1960.
Photo by Peter Dunne/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images<p>They were partly right. Scrupulosity showed the highest correlation. Self-compassion did not negatively correlate, however. They guessed higher self-compassion, being the antithesis of the rigid, perfectionistic model of scrupulosity, would allow for self-forgiveness. "Unfortunately," they conclude, "our data suggested the relationships to be non-significant." Traditional masculine ideology did not correlate positively either. </p><p>Interestingly, Borgogna found general religiosity is not associated with viewing frequency. Being religious does not mean you view more pornography. Yet for a subset of religious believers there is increased distress. They believe religiosity could be a "protective factor" against viewing frequency for a certain segment of the religious population. </p><p>The team hopes therapists use this information as pornography addiction is an under-discussed topic in clinical settings. They advise mental health practitioners to focus on religious-based obsessive thoughts leading to scrupulosity, the constant impulse to access pornography, and cyclical feelings of guilt and shame. </p><p>They also note viewing frequency is not necessarily correlated to relationship or mental health problems. Even a little can trigger negative feelings and psychological distress in those suffering from scrupulosity, while many in the Bible Belt (and beyond) feel no shame, religious or not. </p><p><span></span>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</p>
The key to changing hearts and minds for a better world? Lead with love, says Senator Cory Booker.
- When asked to comment on the debate surrounding political correctness on college campuses, Senator Cory Booker recounts a personal story of a gay friend who, many years ago, patiently endured Booker's naive questions as he tried to understand gay culture.
- Having the freedom to ask questions—even dumb, ignorant questions—helped Booker grow and become an LGBTQ ally. His friend's patience and generosity in answering those questions helped Booker understand that you should always "lead with love."
- PC culture may stop people asking questions and learning, out of fear of being rebuked. Censorship may not be the best way. Booker suggests that a better path forward, for people on both sides, is to ask: Is my question reflective of love, of empathy, of compassion? Am I being gentle in how I deal with this?
Comedian Pete Holmes details his struggle with faith, sex, and God.
- Comedian and writer Pete Holmes explains how he lost his faith after a long struggle with what he calls his Christian, puritanical, shame psychology.
- Holmes found the antidote to internalized shame was 'thoughtless, irrational love'. Love should be as indiscriminate as light, he says. Many people only give conditional love to themselves and others.
- Sexuality is not a mistake, says Holmes. Pretending to be pure by saying frack instead of fuck, and not seeing R-rated movies and being really "nice" is not what a connection to the divine is about.
High-level official LeClair suppressed her sexuality for decades. Now that she's out, she's speaking up.
- Michelle LeClair survived rape, violence, and surveillance, and is now speaking out against the Church of Scientology.
- In her new memoir, Perfectly Clear, she details her harrowing story.
- The church promotes a culture of submission and fear, she says, and is seeking new avenues to retain members.
Michelle LeClair with her partner, Tena Clark.<p>Only, not really. LeClair was nearly ostracized a few years later when admitting to her lesbianism. The "very slow brainwashing and indoctrination" had taken hold. Her mother had paid for her first few sessions, including her 19th birthday present, but now she was all-in — the total she'd donate to the church in the coming decades was $5 million. Their response to her sexuality seems more voyeuristic than theological:</p><blockquote>They wanted every detail, every detail of my thoughts, every detail of my fantasies and had I ever acted on them. So I said I had exchanged kind of a sweet little kiss with one of my best friends in high school and they wanted to know the details of that. </blockquote><p>The Scientology Ethics Department had Hubbard's writings on homosexuality at the ready. Lesbianism, he writes in <em>Dianetics</em>,<em> </em>is responsible for the downfall of society — in the same category as sexual perversion and bestiality. In Hubbard's imagined emotional scale — the "charter of human evaluation" — homosexuality places you among the sickly and criminals.</p><p>How long to focus on this biography? How long does anyone remain controlled by fear and persuasion, falsities and threats? </p><p>A lifetime, for some. But not LeClair. She was in upper management at her price point, a business partner with Kirstie Alley, a spokesperson for Tom and Katie. To hide her sexuality she married a man who turned out to be abusive. A son was born. Then LeClair adopted an African-American daughter, Savannah, which sent him into a rage. Her twin boys were the result of him raping her, for which she was told the rape was her fault. </p><p>The backdrop for our interview: a president mocking a woman for not coming forward after her own story of abuse, her own origin mythology. A <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/10/02/us/politics/donald-trump-tax-schemes-fred-trump.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage" target="_blank">millionaire by 8</a>, this president has never confronted such a story; he's accused of creating his own. He'll never be told everything is his fault, or believe it if he is. LeClair was built of more compassionate material.</p><blockquote>This spiral of everything that's happening to me is my fault. It's my fault and it takes you right back to that moment of looking at those charts and reading quotes and thinking, 'I'm a bad person. Okay, I'm going to be a better wife. I'm going to try this time.' You get to a point where you close off and think — and any victim can tell you this — there is a side of you that in order to survive, you have to close that off.</blockquote>
Once desire becomes suspect, sex is never far behind.
The 18th-century philosopher Immanuel Kant believed that human beings tend to be evil. He wasn’t talking about some guy rubbing his hands and crowing with glee at the prospect of torturing an enemy. He was thinking about the basic human tendency to succumb to what we want to do instead of what we ought to do, to heed the siren-song of our desires instead of the call of duty. For Kant, morality is the force that closes this gap, and holds us back from our darker, desiring selves.